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ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
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SPOILERS: For "Battle of the Proxies."

Love is
By Jaina



It wasn't the way Alicia said her name that made Kalinda freeze in her tracks; it was the hand Alicia put on her arm. Her fingers were soft and warm, her touch gentle. It was all Kalinda could do not to look down at where Alicia was touching her and stare. Alicia would take it the wrong way, think that Kalinda objected and try to jerk her hand away. Once upon a time, with anyone else, that would have been exactly how Kalinda felt about it. Now Kalinda didn't want her Alicia to let go; she wanted Alicia to touch far more than just her arm. And she knew exactly how impossible that scenario was.

That was why she put a smile on her face and tilted her head up to look at Alicia. "Yeah?" The faint smile on her face took any sting from her casual response.

"I didn't ask earlier, when we talked about your husband. Because I don't ask you...things." Alicia hesitated. "We don't talk about things." Her fingers tightened on Kalinda's arm, inadvertently pressing into a bruise left by Nick's fingers. Unlike Alicia's firm grip, Nick's had been intentionally too tight, squeezing with painful strength to see if he could make her scream, whimper - or just tell him to fuck off. Like with Nick, Kalinda never showed any sign of the spike of pain that shot through her arm. Nick would have enjoyed it too much; Alicia would have felt it more than Kalinda had - the first time or now. "But...you are okay?"

Kalinda thought about it for a moment, nodded. There was no world in which she was okay. "Yeah."

There was a small commotion at the entrance to the bar. Three men and one woman, pushing through the crowd and making a scene. Kalinda's attention flicked away and then back to Alicia.

"C'mon," Kalinda said, twisting her hand around so that she could grab Alicia's in her own and tugged her towards the elevator. She didn't look back over her shoulder or speed up.

"Where are we going?" Alicia had had enough shots that she sounded more bemused and willing to humor Kalinda than anything else.

"Up here," Kalinda lied. "It'll just take a sec."

The elevator doors opened and she tugged Alicia in after her. Alicia stumbled slightly in her heels and caught herself on Kalinda's shoulder but she didn't resist.

"Okay." She eyed Kalinda. "Should I be worried?"

Kalinda laughed, shrugged awkwardly. "No."

Now Alicia was peering at her with far more interest, interest Kalinda had always shied from awakening, even if that had never seemed to slow Alicia down or stop her from caring about Kalinda more than anyone else ever had.

"What's wrong, Kalinda? Is it your husband?"

The elevator beeped, ticking up another floor. Kalinda's time was running out.

"No." Honesty. "Yes." More honesty. "I told Nick to leave tonight."

"And he went," Alicia said flatly.

Kalinda appreciated the vote of confidence. "Yeah. Yeah, after I..." She thought better of the words. Paused. "He left and then he got dead."

"Oh my god, Kalinda."

It wasn't until Alicia squeezed her hand again that Kalinda realized she had never let Alicia's hand go. And Alicia had allowed it, hadn't tried to take her hand back. Kalinda wondered what it meant and knew it meant nothing. Not now, not tonight.

"Are you...why are you...how did it happen?"

Kalinda shrugged. "Does it matter?" Alicia looked as if she wanted to hug her.

"I guess it doesn't," Alicia replied slowly as if she were still working through things.

The elevator dinged. Kalinda's eyes flicked up to the display above the doors. The elevator had stopped moving. It started again. The number ticked down. So that was it then.

"What did you want to show me? Does it have something to do with...what happened?"

"It's hard to explain." And there was so little time left. Just a few more floors. If she didn't... Leela never took chances. Leela lived by all the rules. Kalinda had no regrets. She might also have no more chances.

The second floor. Now or never.

Kalinda reached forward, taking Alicia's face in her hands, raised herself up on her toes and pressed her lips against Alicia's. They were as soft as Kalinda had always imagined.

Alicia gasped, a puff of warmth against Kalinda's lips. Kalinda's tongue flicked against Alicia's lip, tasting, seeking warmth, contact, more, anything she could have for the barest of seconds before it was too late.

The elevator dinged. Kalinda yanked herself away from Alicia and pivoted on her heel to face the opening doors.

Four police officers stood there, the three men and one woman Kalinda had seen entering the lobby. "Kalinda Sharma?"

"Yeah." Kalinda didn't bother to deny it. Couldn't care less. All she wanted to do was glance over at Alicia. She couldn't bring herself to look over at Alicia.

"Ms. Sharma, you're under arrest for the death of Nick Savarese. Hold out your hands."

Kalinda didn't try to argue or resist; she simply held them out. There was no point in arguing.

"Wait." Alicia's fingers were on her wrist again, burning against her skin like fire. She stepped forward, putting herself between Kalinda and the officer holding out his handcuffs."Ms. Sharma is my client. What grounds do you have for arresting her?"

"And who are you, Ma'am?" The police officer in charge looked skeptical.

Kalinda flicked a glance at Alicia. Beneath her pale lipstick, her lips were reddened from Kalinda's kiss. The way her eyes had shown brightly from the tequila shots they had thrown back. A lock of her hair was crushed from where Kalinda's hand had slid back into her hair. Kalinda could still remember the silky texture against her fingers. Tiny details that hopefully only Kalinda could see.

"Alicia Florrick, the State's Attorney's wife. And Ms. Sharma's lawyer."

Kalinda flinched and wondered for whose benefit the reminder of Alicia's husband had been.

"I'll be defending her," Alicia said, taking another step forward. "Now, I ask again, what grounds do you have for arresting her?"

In that moment, Kalinda wanted to kiss Alicia again more than she ever had before. It didn't matter what they did to her, if they locked her up for weeks or refused to set bail. If she spent the rest of her life in prison, it was worth it. She had kissed Alicia and Alicia was still standing up for her, fighting for her and not against her. It was the most beautiful thing Kalinda had ever seen.

Then again, getting out of it, getting out of jail and maybe, just maybe, getting to kiss Alicia again would be the best thing of all. But that would take time. It was alright though. Kalinda could be patient - now that she knew there was a chance. She would wait, as long as it took. It was what she was good at.

The End

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